New post office back on track
Plans to relocate a local fixture of the downtown area are back in motion, leaving some wondering what will be the future of Fourth Street.
Recently, Mike Yanez, city administrator, received an e-mail from Russ Rainey of the Western Facilities Service Office from the United States Postal Service. The e-mail talked about plans to go ahead with the construction of a new post office on a two-acre tract in the southeast corner of Laming Road and Woodfield Drive, north of U.S. Highway 24-40.
"It's a huge loss for our downtown," said Tonganoxie Mayor Mike Vestal on Tuesday. "I don't think people realize the importance of the post office being downtown. People like to go up there. It's a good place for people to chat in the morning, shoot the breeze and see each other."
Vestal, who has a goal of revitalizing downtown, said losing the post office could have dire effects on local businesses that get business from the foot traffic generated from people visiting the post office each day. But, it could potentially be dangerous with the increased amount of traffic in an intersection that currently is not regulated by a traffic light on U.S. Highway 24-40.
However, after two years on hold, the funding has been approved for the project to move ahead.
According to the letter, the only thing that could stop the plans are if the people do not want to move the current facility.
In previous meetings, other locations for the new post office, such as farther east on Fourth Street were discussed, but the new plan would only work on Laming Road or not at all.
"It is my personal opinion that should there be resistance to our decision in an amount that would delay it again, I would predict that Tonganoxie will not get a new post office anywhere in the foreseeable future. There are just too many other communities competing for our limited funds and the power that be will probably choose to put our resources where we are better received," wrote Rainey in the letter.
"They will not give us much of a choice in the matter," Vestal said.
Yanez told the council on Monday that Rainey expects the design work to take about seven to eight months and the actual construction work to take nine months.
Before the moratorium was in place, a second public meeting about the proposed post office was planned. Rainey said in the e-mail that he would be open to attending another public meeting if it were scheduled.